In a lot of ways, the Labradoodle is a triumph of the modern world. Not in the sense of technology, really; people have been breeding dogs with specific goals in mind for hundreds of years. But in the sense of how people in the modern age believe that everything, even the most fundamental aspects of our world can be altered to our liking. In other words, someone looked at the dogs available to them and decided they needed a new breed to satisfy their needs so they created one!
A Brief History of the Labradoodle
The Labradoodle first came into being in the late 1980s (1988 or 1989) when a woman living in Hawaii in The United States wrote to Australian Breeder Wally Conron inquiring about a seeing-eye dog that would not affect her husband’s allergies. Australia was chosen because it’s strict quarantine rules meant that animals exported from Australia to Hawaii would not have to be quarantined in the USA. Conron tested the hair and dander of several dog breeds but found none that were suitable for the allergies, so he suggested breeding a Labrador and a Standard Guide Poodle. He produced three generations of stable Labradoodles, and the breed was established.
The goal of the breeding program was to produce a dog with the friendly, calm and trainable nature of the Labrador combined with the non-shedding coat of the poodle. In this, he was extremely successful, though the Labradoodle has become more popular as a general pet than as a guide animal.
Appeal of the Labradoodle
The three main reasons for the Labradoodle’s popularity are its extremely friendly nature, its low-shed coat that is very friendly to allergies, and the diversity of its appearance.
The Labradoodle is a naturally calm, friendly, and loving dog that is very easy to train. Labradoodles make perfect family pets. They are very good with children and adapt to a variety of surroundings and lifestyles with ease.
Although the coat type in a Labradoodle can vary greatly, in general Labradoodles do not shed much, making them perfect for people who suffer from pet allergies. The low-shed coat also means they require very little by way of maintenance.
Labradoodles come in a wide range of sizes, coat types, and colours. This make them a “designer dog” of sorts, as people can stipulate the exact look they desire and seek out puppies that match their appearance goals. Labradoodles have coat types ranging from hair to wool, range greatly in overall size, ranging from 14 inches tall (the ‘mini’) to 26 inches tall, and come in a wide variety of colouring.
The Labradoodle began as a chaotically bred dog, with all kinds of poodles and labs being combined, but in recent years the breeding has fallen under stronger guidelines and requirements and now is very stable, meaning you get exactly what you think when you adopt or purchase a Labradoodle. While earlier-generation Labradoodles had more diversity, they were also less predictable, and sometimes did not exhibit the expected behaviour or hypo-allergenic nature of the modern Labradoodle. No wonder this breed and Australian Labradoodles have become so popular! They truly are the first “designer dogs.”